From Xplor for Kids
September 2016 Issue

Get Out!

Publish Date

Sep 01, 2016

Don’t miss the chance to discover nature at these fun events!

Join us for Discover Nature — Families: Archery Basics.

Learn how to handle and shoot a bow and arrow, and then go practice on the archery range. You may bring your own bow or use ours. All ages. Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center near Springfield. September 8. 6–7:30 p.m. Call 417-742-4361 to register.

Catch Monarch Mania!

Tag and release live monarch butterflies, get free native milkweed plants, and learn how to help our monarch population. All ages. Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center in Kansas City. September 17. 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Call 816-759-7300 for more information.

See live Missouri snakes!

Learn how to identify them, and learn which are venomous at Conservation Keepers: Snakes Alive! All ages. Northeast Regional Office in Kirksville. September 17. 1–2 p.m. Call 660-785-2420 for more information.

Hit the trail for a Night Hike…

…and uncover the mysteries of Missouri’s secretive nighttime animals. All ages. Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center. October 7. 7–9 p.m. Call 573-290- 5218 to register beginning September 1Discover Nature at Owl-o-Ween, where you will meet three owls from Dickerson Park Zoo. Explore the myths and superstitions surrounding these mysterious birds. All ages. Twin Pines Conservation Education Center in Winona. October 27. 6–7 p.m. Reserve by October 2Call 573-325-1381.

Don’t you just love fall?

The weather cools off, and there are more fun things than ever to see and do outside. Experience some of these natural events.

  • September 4 Jewelweed seedpods explode when touched.
  • September 17 Hunt for puffballs and other fall mushrooms.
  • September 21 Listen for migrating birds during evening hours.
  • October 8 Listen for the trill of field crickets.
  • October 17 Peak of fall color begins in maples, oaks, and hickories. Now is a great time to hike a trail or float a stream.
  • October 27 Watch for beavers. Usually active at night, they’re now gathering winter food during the day.

Looking for more ways to have fun outside?

Find out about Discover Nature programs in your area at

What Is It?

  • At rest, I look like a leaf.
  • But disturbed, I reveal my surprise.
  • I’m a threat? Oh, you bet!
  • The proof you can see in my “eyes.”

The large io (eye-oh) moth (2–3½-inch wingspan) looks just like a leaf when it’s at rest. But disturbed, it parts its forewings to reveal a pair of large dark eyespots on the hind wings. Surrounded by strokes of red, these eyespots look like bad news to predators. Io moths prefer forests and wooded parks, but you might see them flying around porch lights in September.

Critter Corner: Spotted Salamander

Beautiful but secretive, this amphibian lives in damp forests throughout most of southern Missouri. During the day, it hides beneath rocks and logs. At night, it eats anything it can catch and swallow, including worms, spiders, insects, and slugs. It hibernates in winter. In the spring, it emerges and migrates to temporary pools, where it mates and lays eggs. Adult spotted salamanders can live up to 30 years.

Also in this issue

Persimmons ripening in fall leaf litter

Into The Wild

Before winter’s whiteness drifts in, Missouri’s trees paint our state with dazzling colors. But pretty leaves aren’t the only things you’ll find in a fall forest.

Bear cubs cradled by researchers.

Into the Woods With a Bear Researcher

Jeff Beringer studies bears. Maybe because his last name starts with “Ber?” Or maybe because studying bears in the woods is fun, surprising, and important? Let’s ask him!

bobolink on barbed wire

Masters of Migration

More than 300 kinds of birds can be seen in Missouri, and over half of them migrate.

Predator Vs. Prey: White Pelican vs. Gizzard Shad

The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight: White Pelican vs. Gizzard Shad

Strange but True

Your guide to all the unusual, unique, and unbelievable stuff that goes on in nature.

Boy shooting a home made bow

How To: Build a Bow

You don’t need an expensive bow to practice archery. Here’s how to make one for less than $5 using plumbing pipe.

This Issue's Staff:

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White

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